The following was a reply to a Canadian friend and mentor's query about some of my Facebook posts:
My politics are far to the left in the U.S., but they would be pretty middle of the road in any advanced country, e.g. Europe, Canada, Japan, Australia, etc. (where there is a basic safety net to assure essential human needs including food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education, and where the democratic process is carefully regulated to allow most voices to be heard). People outside of the U.S. might not realize how bad things have gotten over here, how skewed wealth is toward the very very rich. Most people spend ridiculous amounts of their income on healthcare (if they can afford it at all) and housing. Job security is kind of a thing of the past. The political process has become so infested with money, consultants, etc. that it's probably not accurate to call it "democracy." This has all happened in the years since the end of the cold war. The U.S. system only tolerates two parties. Any attempts to form other parties fail. This means that so, so many voices are ignored and the party leaderships have immense power and are not all that interested in what ordinary people think. The Democratic Party is a somewhat benign, basically competent coalition that claims to represent a, or the, diversity of viewpoints/people. But it is a very weak coalition that has not tackled or even claimed to tackle the real problems of our society, or to mitigate the effects of rapacious capitalism and monopolism for at least the last 24 years. The Republican Party, on the other hand is, to my observation, a truly evil organization that has tried to defeat the democratic process and concentrate wealth and power as much as possible to a small elite. Their model is a plutocracy. They gain support from non-rich people (very much against their own self-interest) by the use of wedge issues. Abortion, gay marriage, non-binary bathrooms, racism, sexism, religious bigotry, the environment, etc. I don’t believe the republican leadership, or the party as a whole really gives a hoot about any of these issues, especially considering they almost always lose on them (Roe v. Wade, for example, was challenged unsuccessfully with a solid conservative majority on the supreme court during Bush Sr.’s presidency. Same sex marriage, etc.). These are just useful wedge issues that, in my opinion, should not be part of the partisan political debate, i.e. parties should allow their members to vote their consciences on them.
More than anything, though, as a Mormon and a close reader of the Book of Mormon (thanks in no small part to you), the republican party seems more like a secret combination, of the kind Book of Mormon authors warned us about. It just seems to always take the side of evil and destruction, even when that side does not support their plutocratic goals. The Democratic Party, on the other hand, is a weak opposition to this onslaught. As I said, I believe it to be essentially benign in its intents, but it feeds from the same fundraising and lobbying troughs, and most of its leaders are themselves elites, and suffer little if at all from their own (many) defeats, unlike the majority of Americans (and the world). They also have trouble resisting the wedge issues brought forth by the right, like moths to light.
OK, so with this backdrop, I should say that Trump is an anomaly. To any thoughtful observer, Trump has been running with significant support from Russia for quite awhile. To any person with a pea-size or larger brain, Trump is a frightening, offensive, narcissistic, dumb, tacky, crooked mess of a person who has no business holding or running for any political office. In spite of all his extremely odious qualities, his connections to Russia are by far the most disturbing. To anyone with any knowledge of history, or to anyone who has any memory of the cold war, this is amazing (in a bad way). We watched in horror as Osama Bin Laden basically manipulated the U.S. into two disastrous wars. America has so damaged its ability to reflect and discuss that we still haven’t examined how that all happened. Now it appears that our current adversary, Putin’s Russia is poised to get us to dissolve pretty much all of our post-WWII international connections that prevented WWIII and kept the soviet empire from taking over and imposing their 1984-esque vision on a large share of the world.
This is *not* conspiracy theory. This is really happening. And it is extremely distressing that a large percentage of our country has allowed the allure of Fox News, and the right wing media to poison and colonize their minds to the point that they are not susceptible to even the most basic truths or warnings.
If the republican party had not crookedly taken over a majority of the three branches of federal government and most state government bodies, Trump would be impeached on his first day of office and it would be kind of like prosecuting Timothy McVeigh. There would be dozens of charges to successfully use.
What has been especially distressing to me has been how Utah appeared to be poised to lead the conservative opposition to Trump in the last weeks of the election. But, as usual, party loyalty appears to “Trump” *everything* else, including loyalty to country (i.e. Putin etc.) and religion (Deseret News explicitly de-endorsed Trump, and the Church implicitly did so). In the end, it was *my* congressman, Jason Chaffetz who initially led the opposition, then, like a dog to its vomit, initiated the Comey debacle that sealed the deal.
I didn’t come to this country expecting to become so political. I’m a composer and a teacher and an admirer of America. But during my sojourn here, I have watched all of the things I admired about this society come under attack, and some of them outright destroyed. I don’t feel like I have much of a choice anymore. You know, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” and all.